Someone asked me a question that got me thinking: why do I love property? It's not just about the bricks and mortar, though they certainly play a part. It's the stories contained within those walls that truly captivate me. I want to share one such story that I think solidifies that.. Back in 2020, amidst the lockdowns, I found myself moving back home to Warwick. A beautiful town rich in history but not much else to occupy my time. Being a history enthusiast, I was drawn to Warwick's historical buildings despite the castle being closed at the time. One particular gem was the information centre on High Street, where I struck up a conversation with a lady working behind the counter. Our exchange led me to a fascinating book, which I smashed within 36 hours. Within the book was a story that left a mark on me. It dates back to the 5th September 1694, a day when Warwick was engulfed by a fire reminiscent of the Great Fire of London. Some attributed the blaze to a stray spark from a blacksmith on High Street, while others speculated it started from a borrowed light used to kindle a neighbour's fire. Regardless of its origins, the fire wreaked havoc, leaving a trail of destruction that claimed 157 houses, totalling an estimated £60,000 in damages or by today's standards, £9.6 mil. Among those 157 houses, however, one met a different fate—not from fire, but from a remarkable act of desperation. A prominent resident of Warwick, living on Smith Street, watched in horror as the flames crept closer to his cherished home. In those days, the standard response was not to extinguish the fire but to contain it by demolishing adjacent buildings—a last-ditch effort to halt its spread. In a bold move, the man decided to take matters into his own hands. Knowing his neighbour had left for London the week prior, he planned to dismantle the neighbouring house to create a barrier against the inferno. With the help of 8 men, they raised the building in an hour, creating a gap in its wake. Yet, fate had a twist in store. Further down the street, another individual had a similar stroke of ingenuity and successfully halted the fire's progression before it could threaten Smith Street. Imagine the moment the man who, in his desperation to protect his home, realising he had inadvertently demolished his neighbour's house for no immediate purpose. I can't help but picture the conversation between the two neighbours—a moment full of irony and a touch of awkwardness. What began as a valiant effort to preserve his property ended in mortifying consequences. Interestingly, while the house he sought to save does not survive to this day, the tale endures as a testament to the resilience of those who faced adversity in centuries past. For me, it reaffirms the notion that property is more than just tangible assets; it's a repository of human stories and experiences, each with its own unique narrative waiting to be discovered.

Posted by Chris at 2024-03-25 09:05:49 UTC